‘Reform’ is in eye of the beholder


Sir, – I am increasingly irritated by the incorrect use of the term “reform” in the media. The dictionaries I have consulted define reform as the improvement of what is wrong, corrupt or unsatisfactory.

The term now appears to be attributed to any amendment or change to legislation or administrative process.

Thus, on March 14th in your front-page report dealing with the Polish extradition case, you refer to Polish “far-reaching reforms of the judiciary” whereas the report, together with a second report on page two, goes on to report the judge as refusing to grant the extradition application on the grounds that the “reforms” may have damaged and breached democracy and the rule of law.

Other misuses of the term abound, such as references to Hungarian “reforms” and calls some months ago by Theresa May and Donald Trump for “reform” of the United Nations which turned out to be proposals that they pay less to the UN budget and have far greater control over other states.

Even references to Mr Trump’s recent tax “reforms” giving disproportionate benefits to big business and the rich with the probable tripling of the national debt would not be regarded by many as reforms in the proper meaning of the term.

Perhaps The Irish Times might lead the way towards an accurate use of the term reform in the media. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6W.